A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Latin phrase “Casus Belli” refers to “an event or action that justifies or allegedly justifies a war or conflict.” Casus belli essentially requires two parties in order to fulfill its definition. One party must commit the event or action in question and another must use it as the justification for a further conflict. Sekou’s death at the end of “A Flash of Light” proves to be the former, even though the episode makes it quite obvious that he was quite clearly at no fault. Whom the actual party behind the attack is remains to be seen, but for the moment there are several options in play, with the most obvious pick also being the least likely for that exact reason. The parties that seek to use the event to further their own agenda are numerous, ranging from Dar Adal to an Alex Jones-stand in whose cringeworthy program name doesn’t prevent him from being effective. In another world, perhaps the vitriol and indignation that is so thoroughly coated in the bluster of an insecure man would seem to be the most outlandish thing Homeland has ever done (which is saying something), but in the political reality of today (or alternate reality if you prefer), Jake Weber seems like a natural, if insidious, fit. His program name Real Truth gets to that nonexistent dichotomy of there being two types of truths, one that is real and one that is cooked up by the liberal media to hoodwink the American people. The attack in New York fits right into that warped worldview that sees everything as a paradigm of poison designed to hold back the strength of white people, the nonsensically-termed “reverse racism” if you will. As far as Weber is concerned, multiculturalism is the party attacking and the “true Americans” are the parties that must use the attacks of multiculturalism to safeguard the Western world.
President-elect Keane hasn’t yet had the opportunity to fashion her own idea of what the event was, what the ramifications are, and how she can respond going forward considering that her election campaign was based on America not rushing to an immediate militaristic judgment when anything goes wrong. Weber is quick to grab footage of her being rushed to a helicopter to ensure her safety as a propaganda moment that paints her as a coward, a president that runs away from an attack scene. The logic that any President would be whisked to safety in a moment like this is lost because it doesn’t fit within the purview of what Weber is trying to sell to his audience. How much exposure Keane had received to the unfortunately effective idiot in the past is unknown, but presumably there was quite a lot during the general election campaign and in part because she is a woman. Her keenly (no pun intended) watching Weber at the end of the episode feels like foreboding foreshadowing, as the circumstances have shifted quite dramatically. The idea of facts in today’s day and age has become a controversial one, a result in part of political advertising machinery that effectively preys upon the fears individuals have of the realities that they face. Her presidency hinges within that dangerous paradigm and it’s fascinating and terrifying to see her wobble so carefully on the line between pragmatism and being a reactionary. The news that Carrie was heavily involved in Sekou’s case (in what capacity remains a bit of a murky question) leaks and one presumably would imagine that Keane is too thrilled about having that as an additional possible scythe precariously hanging above her head.
Explosions in Homeland have a habit of dramatically changing the narrative structure and this week was no different, albeit the unfolding of the crisis’s immediate aftermath took on a considerably more different aspect than had been anticipated. Carrie’s brownstone becomes the focal point of a hostage crisis. In a rush that pushes credulity slightly, a plethora of media and angry protestors gather around Carrie’s house because of her involvement in Sekou’s case. It is, to note, fairly inaccurate to note that Carrie represented Sekou as she’s not a certified lawyer, but the resulting circumstances have enough logic and thrill around them that it becomes more of an annoying nitpick than anything else. Quinn’s survival seemed too reminiscent of Homeland keeping Brody past the time when it was necessary for him to be around, but his presence in the episode is nevertheless complex and dramatically satisfying. The protestors and media sets off Quinn’s PTSD and that unfortunately couples with Carrie’s request that he take care of Franny while she goes and sorts out the mess around Sekou’s death. Quinn takes that request to absolute heart and the resulting action that follows is thrilling and tense, even if the likelihood that Quinn in any way be killed off was nonexistent. He is taken in, however, especially after he shot a protestor who threw a brick through Carrie’s window. In the kerfuffle, somehow federal agents missed taking Quinn’s phone with them, which really stretches credulity but it at least puts Carrie onto the hunting path and Homeland almost always benefits from that paradigm.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“They do that to scare people.”
+The heartbreak of Sekou and his mother
+“It didn’t come from me.”
+“Someone noted a demonstration…”
+“Is he impressed?”
Episode Title: Casus Belli
Written by: Chip Johannesson
Directed by: Alex Graves
Image Courtesy: Vulture
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